I am standing at the crossroads of little kid and big kid, and I feel lost and out of place. My feet are cemented to the ground and I don’t want to budge, but the world keeps on moving forward. I know what I need to do, but I am not sure I am ready to give up being the parent of a little one.
On the first day of Second Grade, my daughter did not look back at me as she walked through the door to her school. She probably would have not even hugged me goodbye, if I had not given her a squeeze right as she was running to greet her friends.
I stood at a distance, as the rain fell around me, and watched her back disappear into the crowd of kids. I held my own and did not shed a tear. I just watched the scene unfold, partially in relief and partially in surprise at the ease of the first day. At that moment, the most I could do was also walk away and let her be the big kid that she is, and enjoy her first day back at school.
It has been a very long time since I have written on this blog, or really written much about my daughter. Not because I have not wanted to, but more because I no longer know how. When I first started this blog, I had so much fun writing about all our little adventures. Whether it was a simple as going to the park or as big as a family vacation, there were so many fun things to write about.
But my daughter is no longer a baby, she is now a kid. And a parent of a ‘kid’ is different. The worries are different and the problems are now bigger and more real. The fun little adventures are less and less and space is filled with activities, school work and play dates.
I had my first real “adult” moment last year. First grade was a year of learnings, not just academically, but socially as well. We had problems with friends, to a point where I ended up in a conference with the teacher and school counselor. In the middle of the meeting, I had this sudden awareness that I was the parent in this situation. The magnitude of the responsibility felt almost overwhelming for a moment. But I stepped up, and we worked through the issues.
I have learned that my social media is now effecting my daughter. Things I post on Facebook make their way to friends at school. I no longer post pictures, thoughts, comments, etc that involve my daughter without her permission. We even ran into an issue where a picture I posted on twitter of one of her lost teeth ended up in a prank phone call to our house by some online radio station. I am now very guarded with everything I post of her.
I now understand why my Mom used to tell me that being a stay-at-home mom mattered more when my daughter was older. As a mother, we so want to be home with our little babies instead of leaving them in the care of another person. And while our presence is great for our baby, it is equally, if not more important, as our children navigate through the world of school, peer pressure and making the right decisions.
So where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me as the adult in every situation. It leaves me as the homework-enforcer, the warm hug on a hard day, the little voice of reason when her conscience needs a guide. I am now the ‘heavy’ in every peer pressure situation. Honestly, I do not care if her friends like me or not, that is not my job. My job is to keep my daughter out of trouble and making smart decisions. “Blame it on me”, I now say “tell your friends that I said no, and if you do it, you will get in trouble.” Bottom line, it leaves me as the parent, all the time.
Here I am, standing at the crossroads, looking wistfully down the road of little kid, of the times past where we would spend hours playing. I turn my head and look down the new road, it is bumpy, twisty and curvy, and it sure as hell won’t be easy to navigate. But it is where I need to go, what I need to do. I lift my foot and step forward.